Parasitology

Parasite survives predation on its host

Abstract

As prisoners in their living habitat, parasites should be vulnerable to destruction by the predators of their hosts. But we show here that the parasitic gordian worm Paragordius tricuspidatus is able to escape not only from its insect host after ingestion by a fish or frog but also from the digestive tract of the predator. This remarkable tactic enables the worm to continue its life cycle.

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Figure 1: Escape of parasitic gordian worms from their insect host and from the host's predators.

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Author information

Correspondence to Fleur Ponton.

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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Supplementary information

Supplementary information (DOC 20 kb)

Supplementary Video 1

A gordian worm (Paragordius tricuspidatus) leaves its cricket host (Nemobius sylvestris). (MOV 1987 kb)

Supplementary Video 2

A gordian worm slides out of a frog’s mouth, the frog (Rana erythraea) having eaten the cricket in which the worm was living. (MOV 2598 kb)

Supplementary Video 3

A gordian worm slides out of a trout’s gill, the trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) having eaten the cricket in which the worm was living. (MOV 838 kb)

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